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The Road to English C



To the Editors of The Crimson:

As an English major who has taken a variety of fiction courses, I am writing to express my dismay at the cancellation of Expository Writing 13.

For those students who came to Harvard with serious literary ambitions Expos 13 was a valuable step, in many cases an unstated prerequisite, to higher fiction writing courses. The fiction-course route has always been sufficiently arduous and narrow. Enrollments have always been limited. Now this route will be closed as the apparent consequence of administrative squabbles. With the termination of Expos 13 the number of fiction sections offered at the College will be cut in half.

A select group of freshman writers deserve the chance to exercise and develop their own literary talents. But the issue is not simply one of academic freedom. I question the validity of distinctions between the skills taught in craft of fiction the modes of expression are more open, if often less direct. Still, clarity is respected, compression admired, diction honored. If the implication of Richard Marius' decision is that style can't be adequately learned in the practice of fiction writing. I am sure even Strunk and White would disagree with him.

Expos 13 provided a small but cherished opportunity for those talented enough to enter it. In abolishing the course Richard Marius has taken a radical step without adequate justification. He has embittered his colleagues and called his own judgment and competence into question. --Chris Knowlton '79

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